April 1, 2011
Last Saturday I accidentally ended up at a poetry workshop. I say it was an accident because there we were, minding our own business, having driven down to the farmer's market for our produce and a whole chicken and a rosemary plant (which I cannot say without singing in my head, "parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme"). We then walked to the library for some books; there was a conference going on, lots of cool booths set up in front of the library, and my mother-in-law was there. We all went inside, and I was nursing Simon in the kids section when she said excitedly, "There's a poetry workshop! You should go!"
"Cool," I replied, wanting to check it out but unsure of how to do that at that moment, baby attached to me and all. We talked logistics, I handed her Simon once he was done, and then I ran across the street to where the workshop was. My hair was unbrushed, I had no makeup on, and I was wearing the shirt I slept in the night before. There was a mistake with the program and the workshop was actually almost over by the time I showed up, but the poet running it encouraged me to stay. After everyone else had left, she let me pick a writing prompt from a list. The prompt was from Pablo Neruda's most excellent book The Captain's Verses: "We have changed a thousand times." I wrote for ten minutes without stopping, often surprised at the feeling of tears welling up in my eyes. At the end of the ten minutes, I had a few pages of rambling and a deep understanding of just how long it has been since I have really done this writing thing the way I really want to do it.
It seems that the universe really is trying to tell me something, what with hearing about the publication of my professor's book, serendipitously ending up in this poetry workshop, and then reading this just last night. The voice is telling me, "Write on, sister!" and so this week that is what I've been doing, pure unadulterated untamed writing. Finding the time is difficult but I'm learning to do this writing thing over and over; it seems like the process of learning never ever ends, even though I have been doing this my whole life. I told the poet who taught the workshop that I had been writing since I was a kid, and she said, "I can tell." And I said, "I don't know how not to do it. It's just what I do."
And that's true. It's just what I do.